Lawyer: Strauss-Kahn accuser 'depressed'

August 21, 2011 - 2:25 PM
Strauss Kahn Assault

FILE- In this Wednesday, July 27, 2011, file photo, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo arrives at Manhattan criminal court for a meeting with New York City prosecutors investigating the sex assault case against of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York. Diallo's lawyer said Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, that he believes prosecutors plan to dismiss some or all of the charges (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano, File)

PARIS (AP) — The hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault feels "abandoned" by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, her attorney said Sunday.

In an interview with France's RTL radio that comes a day after he told The New York Times he feared Vance would dismiss the charges against Strauss-Kahn, lawyer Kenneth Thompson said his client, Nassifatou Diallo "is hurt, she is depressed.

"Ms. Diallo feels abandoned by the Manhattan district attorney," Thompson said, adding that questions about Diallo's credibility as a witness have made her feel "that she's being investigated more than Strauss-Kahn."

Diallo and her 15-year-old daughter "cry themselves to sleep because their lives are in shambles because of what happened," he said.

On Saturday, Thompson said he got a letter from an assistant district attorney offering to meet with his client Monday, the day before Strauss-Kahn's next scheduled court appearance — a move he interpreted meaning that prosecutors plan to drop some or all of the charges.

In a separate interview that appeared Sunday in France's Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, another of Diallo's attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, said "We don't have confidence in (Vance's) desire to take this to court.

"I wonder about his motivations," Wigdor is quoted as saying. "If I were the district attorney, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. I know that most of the district attorneys in New York and in the country wouldn't either."

Wigdor also said that the defense team's search in Europe for other women who allege they'd been victimized by Strauss-Kahn had turned up "many" people.

"They'll talk at the right moment," he said. "Some of them are willing to testify."

Strauss-Kahn was arrested during a May visit to New York City after a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel told police he attacked her when she arrived to clean his suite. The woman, Diallo, told police that he forced her to perform oral sex and then left the hotel.

The arrest prompted Strauss-Kahn to resign from the IMF, and disrupted his political career in France, where he was seen as a probable candidate for president.

But in July, prosecutors said publicly that Diallo had lied to them about her personal history and some critical details of the case. She also acknowledged lying to U.S. immigration officials about her life in Guinea, her native country, when she applied for political asylum in 2003. In addition, a law enforcement official said prosecutors discovered that, a day after the alleged attack, Diallo had called a friend to talk about the incident, and that during that call she had mentioned Strauss-Kahn's wealth.

Asked whether inconsistencies in Diallo's accounts of her earlier life and in her asylum application had compromised her credibility as a witness, Wigdor replied, "most victims have complicated pasts. If the new standard in American justice is to defend only those with a spotless past, they should come out and say it."

Diallo (whose name is pronounced na-fee-SAH'-too dee-AH'-loh) has also pressed her claims in another forum by suing Strauss-Kahn for unspecified damages in the civil case.

Wigdor warned that the civil case would continue, regardless of Vance's decision.

"If the charges are dropped, Mr. Strauss-Kahn still won't have heard the end of the Diallo case," Wigdor is quoted as saying.

The AP generally doesn't name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified, as Diallo has done.